My first Experience of pathfinder (as a GM)
Hi Guys I've recently joined this subreddit (this was originally posed to reddit) and been impressed. I wanted to share my experience of my first time GMing. but first a couple questions. I already shared my second so I thought I'd share this before it gets lost to the ages.
- Can you recommend some short quests/campaings/etc to run that follow on form the beginners box, I would be really surprised if someone hasnt already written one for all the stories the beginner box suggests, deeper into black fangs dungeon woudl be nice.
- Black fang was a baby, surely he has a mommy and a daddy dragon and they are pissed he was hurt. Does this encounter exist anywhere.
- Are there any tools to help build campaigns.
So here we go. none of us have played before. I grabbed a humble bundle last year. I am GM. None of us have even played before. We decided to move forward and skim the rules, so some stuff we made up as we went along in order to get things moving. I planned to go over mechanics more as we learn to correct things as we go, I am well aware I am missing a lot of stuff, I just wanted to keep things moving. Feel free to point out my mistakes though, that is partly what this thread is about. We had a Cleric, a Fighter and a Rogue. We are of course using the beginner box (digital version) so will be going into black fangs dungeon.
So Encounter 1 as our party peered through the mossy curtain they were jumped by a pair of goblins. The figter started in melee range. The rogue was several steps behind. Kyra, the cleric was by the statue. Fighter hit and killed the first goblin, second one stood on the corpse of its dead comrad to poke the fighter, but did no damage. Then the Rogue loosed and arrow at the goblin. At this point Valeros, the figter was standing directly inbetween the Rogue and the goblin. I asked AFTER the arrow was loosed, what if you hit Valeros. Oh Shit said Taerinar, the Rogue. I had Valeros role a reflex save to see if he dodged the arrow. He rolled a 1, so I had the arrow hit him squarely in the shoulder, so hard it knocked him off his feet and he tumbled on top of the startled goblin. The goblin was completely pinned by the fighters huge size. The cleric then approached and finished off the goblin. I'd call this a successful first encounter, my players realised to think through what consequences their actions have. Should the fighter counted as cover here? Are there any mechanics for friendly fire?
Second area, the goblin sleeping chamber saw the Rogue immediately pick the chest. The players then rested here. The PCs rolled low on perception repeatedly but I kept hinting that one of the beds felt lumpy. They spent forever looking for a key to a chest they had already opened. They finally found it when the fighter getting annoyed, lifted the whole straw mat above his head and the key dropped out.
The 3rd encounter, the magical fountain is ultimately what saved their campaign from stupidity later. They spent some time experimenting here. The cleric sang to the fountain quite beautifully (rolled 20), so I gave her a charisma check to charm the goddess of fortune to get a hint about the statue, telling her to check the runes. All my players worked out that offering something to the fountain would give a bonus. One player decided to gift the goddess a precious gem, as well as gold. This is what saved them. The goddess of fortune was so pleased by the beautiful singing and the precious gems that she blessed the party (secretly) I occasionally gave them a +1 to rolls and planned an encounter with the premade wizard from the beginners box entering by luck into a difficult fight, effectively building in a way to save them if they mess up or get unlucky.
When they got to the gemstone altar they were getting a little nervous. When they stepped on the first tile and heard the booming voice they froze, No one wanted to enter the room. Guessing there was a trap they tried throwing things into the room to trigger the trap. Each thing triggered the fire. At one point they tried throwing a grappling hook into the room. The fire incinerated the rope but the metal hook fell to the floor, charred but unharmed. After that they decided to test throwing different materials into the room to see if different materials would fare better. What a waste of a handful of gold as it melted in the flames and speccled the floor. Finally with the Rogue standing outside the fires AOE, but the party stading inside the AOE the rogue tried to disarm the trap, and failed miserably burning the rest of the party. They finally figured out they could duck under the fire, and retrieved the gem.
They got through the spiders nest really easily. The first few rolls were high so spider was squished pretty easily and the party retrieved the dragon toy, which would go on to further inspire some quests and magic later. They solved the puzzle of the magic pillar pretty quickly giving Taerinar the swimmign and water breathing buff.
As they reached the deadly pool the players decided that the water probably had some monsters in and decided to do some forward planning before combat started. They decided the rogue would swim across the water, since he had the enchantment and could disarm any traps that were guarding the treasure. They tied a rope around him so they could pull him out of the water incase he gets attacked or drowns. I made him roll a stealth check going accross the water, just so he thought he had successfully avoided the monster. He took a moment to congradulate himself for reaching the treasure and then I had the reefclaw jump him. The reefclaw grabbed him. The Fighter attempted to pull him back over the water. I made him roll a strength check. 1-10- nothing, 11-16, ge pulls Taerenar and the reefclaw, 16+ he pulls him free and half the fighters move speed across the water. Well he rolled low so the rogue was stuck with the reefclaw. Fortunately a couple of high rolls, and the cleric using her sling, saw him dispatch the reefclaw fairly quickly.
My players were surprised/impressed to find the goblins were friendly. They succeded their diplomacy checks but Taerinar, being a murder hobo drank the invisibility potion and was getting in position to back stab the goblin king. He was sitting on the fence between stealing the goblins treasure and starting a fight, but at least took the time to see how the discussion unfolded. The party told the goblins they had retrieved the dragon toy they seek already, and the goblin king hastily offered the advice on how to slay the dragon and the fighter approached the king to hand over the toy. Then out of nowhere the fighter said I want to draw my sword and attack the goblin king. ( I will go into why a little later) I said, ok, roll both roll a reflex save. The fighter rolled low and the gobnlin king rolled an 18 (+4) so I had the goblin king see the attack coming, dodge it and drawing his own sword swing at the fighter, hitting him. Then roll initiative.
The goblins both rolled high on the initiative. The problem here was that the cleric was currently standing in the middle of a group of goblins, the rogue was not close enough to help and the fighter had taken serious damage. The 4 goblins started to surround the cleric and reduced her hp to 0 pretty fast, the 4th goblin running up to help the king landed a blow on the fighter and the king finished him off. The rouge, still invisible ran to give a potion to the cleric, who then healed the fighter getting him back on his feet, but still heavily wounded. The goblins startled by the appearing rogue, rushed him in the second round, reducing his hp to 1. The fighter did some damage to the goblin king but then fell to him. and the cleric was only on 1 hp.
At this point I decided they needed saving. Enter Ezren the wizard. Ezren was supposed to be part of the party, but the PCs left without him. Annoyed by being left behind but not wanting to miss out on the action he set off to follow them. Since the dungeon had been cleared he caught up to them no problem and by the blessing of the goddess of fortune somehow turned up at the fight just when he was needed. He immediately throws out burning hands over the group of 4 goblins surrounding the Rogue, hitting all the goblins, except the king, and the rogue for 4 damge. The rogue succeeds in the reflex save to half the damage but still goes down. In the next round the goblins rush the wizard, the cleric heals the rogue getting him back on his feet. The rogue kills a goblin with an arrow and the wizard kills a goblin too. The goblin king fails in an attack on the rogue. Next round The goblin king instantly downs the rogue (again) and the two other goblins kill off the wizard. At this point I suggest maybe the fight is lost and the cleric should just loot the chest (she is standing near it now) and try to run (since it contains a wand of cure light wounds which is more powerful than Rebuke death, the fighters unconcious body is also near the chest right now). She finds the wand and finally gest a decent roll, 6+1 to heal the fighter. Valeros is back in the fight. Valeros now kills the goblin king and is too tanky for the 2 remaining goblins to finish the next round so the rest of the fight is pretty simple.
After that we take a real world break, and the characters take a break to heal. It is at this point I find out why the fighter so suddenly attacekd the goblin king instead of just handing over the toy. The person playing Valeros had been keeping a journal from the perspective of Valeros. Its pretty amazing. Valeros refers to Taerinar as "T" in the journal because he can't spell Taerinar and there is loads of in character text exploring Valeros's character. The point here is that Valeros is also a massive idiot. He decided to eat the wings from the dragon toy. "They looked so tasty" "They were tasty". No one in the party had any idea of this and I thought it was great role play to be going into so much depth about a characters motivations and their personality. I decided this deserved a small reward, but eating a plastic toy surely needs consequences. So Valeros got sick, for the next encounter, recieving a -1 to all rolls. After he recovered however he would gain +1 against dragons to attack and damage rolls. Giving him +4 since he is using the dragon-bane longsword. I decided to let him keep this, and eventually decided to work some fun variations into later quests. Valeros may end up becoming some king of Anti-Santa, going around eating all the childrens toys to see if he gains an enchantment. Thankfully the first time I gave him this opportunity he decided to return the toy to a child who lost it to make them happy.
So after a break to heal (and some snacks) we move on to the climbing section. The cleric uses the potion of levitation and then throws down a rope to the others and they quickly move on to the skeletons. I am looking forward to this fight. I can't wait to see how long it takes them to work out only blunt weapons are effective. I don't get that chance though. As the fight starts though Kyra rolls highest on initiative and casts channel energy and rolls a 5, instantly incinerating all 3 skeletons in a blast of divine energy. None of the skeletons pass the save to halve the damage
Moving onto the Dragon, this fight was I think very empowering for the players. They took some damage of course, but by the end of the second round, the fighter had crit TWICE with high rolls and the other players had done a decent amount of damage. reducing Black fangs HP to just a 6, I was worried one lucky crit and he might actually fall. Luckily the last attack aginst him failed and he retreated next round. He is going to be really pissed when they run into him again. One of my players wanted to attempt to grab onto his tail. I actually stopped her here. I took a moment to discuss fall damage, and said she would need to pass a climb check in order to grab onto the dragon, and then another to climb up his tail. The dragon would also be flying up 12ft per turn, out of range of the other players so she would effectively be solo vs a dragon, with a slingshot and heling spells. Potentially she could have tamed the dragon here subduing him as her mount, but it would be really really hard just to climb up and not get eaten by the dragon. She decided that the risk of falling, or being eaten, was too great and she would let the dragon go.